AMSTERDAM – A new study reveals that man’s closest relative is not the monkey or the ape – it’s the long-eared, cotton-tailed rabbit!
Tissue samples reveal humans and hares are nearly identical, says evolutionary biologist, Sven Bjeen of the University of Amsterdam.
According to his partner, researcher Dan Gaur, and his colleagues at Tel Aviv University, the lowly rabbit and hare possess protein in their tissues which indicate they are nearly identical to man in a number of important ways. So close are they biologically to humans that they actually maybe closer relatives than primates.
“This is a startling finding and it indicates that man most likely evolved from an ancient rabbit rather than an ape or monkey,” said biologist Dr. Peter VanderMan of Brussels University, who has studied Dr. Gaur’s work in depth.
“There’s no question that the rabbit share an extraordinary amount of genetic information with humans,” said Professor VanderMan.
“Clearly, there was once a missing link that moved by hoping and had a hairy pelt, but was also clever with its paw and intelligent enough to manipulate its environment.
“This creature must have been the ancestor of the modern rabbit, while another branch of its family went on to produce homo sapiens.”
Dr. VanderMan says man’s ancient rabbit ancestor probably wiggles its nose, lived in burrows and subsisted on plants and vegetables just like modern-day hares.
“We believe these furry forebears probably lived in Northern Europe before the Ice Age,” he said. “We have asked paleontologists to tell us about any finds that may back up our theory.”
“If we can establish a direct link to ancient man, it will set science on its ear,” said Dr. Gaur.
The researchers are confident they will find the direct link by August of 2012.